Brands need to have a vision for developing Customer Experience strategy

In the last couple of years, we have witnessed the largest shift in consumer behaviour in a generation. A lot more people are leading digital-driven lives and creating an increasingly data-rich world. Today, we have more insights into our customers’ behaviour than ever before. Customer expectations for the brands they buy from, has also evolved. Consumers want enough information to take a decision, they are always seeking value, novelty, a brand style, a consistent and superlative buying and service experience.

In my experience, Indian brands and organisations have realised the need to have a shared vision and plan for developing a customer experience strategy at the senior most levels. However, there is a need to formalise a framework to build a successful customer experience strategy. As I have repeatedly said in the past, customer experience is always a work-in-progress, it is an evolution. It is never just a project. Marketers tend to make it sound more complicated than it is. The starting point of any great CX strategy is articulating what the business is trying to accomplish in the context of the customer. A few fundamental questions to ask –

  • Why is the brand wanting to implement a different customer experience strategy?
  • What is the gap between the needs and wants of customers and what they actually experience?
  • Which are the impact moments that the brand should focus on to drive business outcomes?
  • How ready are the internal teams to support and implement this strategy?

We often hear the adage that – “experience is the new brand”. Marketers love headlines and tag lines, they love the words – innovative, pathbreaking, big impact, etc., and I do not blame them. The shelf life of marketers is getting shorter and shorter, and it is indeed a very high-pressure job. A brand and an organisation have a life of its own and decisions that are likely to have a long-term impact need to be calibrated at the topmost levels and with a lot of vision and sagacity.

We are continuously witnessed to high decibel product and service launches across categories and industries like – Auto, Electronics, Fashion, BFSI, and I wonder how many brands and organisations have thought through from the brand promise stage to the brand proof of experience stage. I am sure a lot of them spend enough time on it and they do understand the importance of it but when the rubber meets the road, there certainly are many loose ends. The moot question is, what is the value that the customer has derived once the purchase has been made? I do not hear many CXOs asking this question. I believe it is a fundamental question and once you have an answer to it, it sets your brand up for enduring success.

Neeraj Pratap Sangani
CEO, Hansa Cequity

Theodore Levitt, more than fifty years back in his book ‘The Marketing Mode’, quoted Leo McGivena, who reportedly said: “Last year 1 million quarter-inch drill bits were sold — not because people wanted quarter-inch drill bits but because they wanted quarter-inch holes.” This insight is still as relevant and compelling. Customers are not just buying experiences; they are buying meaningful outcomes. Customer experiences must shine light on this and aide this entire process. Brands need to focus beyond transferring the ownership of their products to customers. They need to learn more about the customer, the product usage, navigate and wherever possible, guide the customer on the ownership journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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